Why Come Here? Great New American cuisine, impressive industrial ambiance
Maybe it’s because it’s August. Or maybe it’s because it’s a Monday. These are the thoughts that trickled into my head as I entered Governor for our 7:30 reservation (yeah, it was a little early too) and there was not a single other table seated. Why is a restaurant that only opened only a little over a month ago so empty? It wasn’t as if it hadn’t had its fair share of press considering it 1) is owned by the team behind the popular Colonie and Gran Electrica, 2) has a chef whose pedigree includes both Noma and Per Se and 3) is currently on Grub Street’s “Power Rankings.”
While the restaurant clearly has some kinks to work out, none of them are fatal or explain the emptiness. The space is an attractive and soaring old warehouse with an open kitchen and mezzanine level with views onto a quiet, waterfront street in DUMBO. The music was an interesting mix of old rap and hip hop which we all found a little weird given the clientele. It was also a little too loud, at least in the mezzanine.
The service, while generally knowledgeable and friendly could use some work, as could the pacing of the meal. After ordering, our bread and four appetizers were rushed out at the same time, only to have us wait at least 45 minutes for our mains. We received little attention during this time and it took nearly 10 minutes to flag someone down to get the wine list. One of the members of our party also sent back a strongly anise flavored cocktail the waitress admitted was “not their most popular” and was still charged for it (update: it appears it has thankfully been taken off the menu now).
But these are kinks a new restaurant can afford to work out as long as the food is good enough. And it is. The menu was a combination of small and medium-size appetizers and entrees that was heavy on the fresh veggies and seafood. The four of us ordered over half the menu and not a single dish missed the mark with many that were outstanding (especially the four-star beef tartar). Price were not cheap, but pretty reasonable for the quality of food coming out ($10-15 apps, mid $20s entrees). So the good news is if you don’t mind a few inconveniences, you can have an incredible meal without a wait.
Below are my top picks from our meal. For more reviews and photos, please check my DishEnvy page.
Beef Tartar (w/mussel emulsion) The beef flavor in tartare is often overpowered by the other ingredients. Not here though, where they perfect enhance it. Each piece is served in a tortilla scoop chip. Best version of beef tartare I’ve eaten.
Sweetbreads (w/ broccoli, cauliflower, benton’s ham & hollandaise) It’s rich, but not over-the-top creamy like some hollandaise covered dishes I’ve eaten. Overall, it’s the most enjoyable sweetbreads experience I’ve had.